Sunderland Empire’s starring role in a Fab piece of pop history

The Beatles at Sunderland Empire.
The Beatles at Sunderland Empire.
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A RARE photograph of The Beatles on Wearside has been sold for hundreds of pounds at auction.

The black and white picture of the Fab Four, snapped at the Sunderland Empire in 1963, had never been seen by the public until recently.

The shot, taken by former newspaper photographer Keith Perry, was discovered after a search of a long-forgotten private archive.

After going under the hammer in Liverpool, the picture raised £550.

Stephen Bailey, an authority on the group who organised the sale, said: “There is still massive attraction for Beatles memorabilia. There are still people willing to pay fantastic prices.”

Dad-of-three Keith, 68, from Newcastle, said he was never a big fan of John, Paul, George and Ringo when he saw them thrill Wearside pop fans, while working as a freelance snapper.

“I was only there because my brother was into the band,” he said.

In total, items at the annual Beatles memorabilia auction, including articles which once belonged to the Fab Four, as well as their manager Brian Epstein, went for around £60,000 for the 322 lots on sale.

Bids came in from across the globe, with particular interest from Austria, Germany, Australia and the U.S.

A seven-inch copy of Please Please Me, described as “very, very rare”, was the top seller. Sold by a Liverpool woman who got the band to sign it at the Cavern, it went for £9,060, with commission.

A cap belonging to John Lennon was sold for £3,200.

Other items at the sale, held in the Paul McCartney Auditorium at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, included the door of number 38, Kensington, which went for £2,300.

The burgundy door was at the entrance to a studio in the Kensington area of the city where the band, then known as The Quarrymen, did their first professional recording session.

It will stay in the city and go on display at the Museum of Liverpool Life.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho